I get so irritated when I talk to either my mom or my mother-in-law and they call my almost three-year-old daughter "girly." With my Mom I get to explain how my daughter has many facets to her personality and although she likes to wear dresses sometimes and jewelry that she's not what I'd label "girly." She beats up her older brother, loves playing with cars, squeals happily when she sees a bulldozer and has a miniature tyrannosaurus rex as her imaginary friend. However, I don't feel like I can lecture my mother-in-law the same way. Instead I gently steer her away from the baby doll presents (my daughter has dolls and plays with them sometimes but not as frequently as her stuffed animals), Disney Princess jewelry, etc. Anyway, I wonder if I'm overreacting. I just don't like hearing a label put on my daughter and "girly" just seems loaded with negative connotations for me. Can't she just be herself without the need to put a label on her? BTW, I got just as fired up when my Mom was saying my son was "all boy."
by missbrittaniMarch 26, 2010 at 11:13 AM
I know what you mean. We had a play date the other day. A bunch of children playing. There was sidewalk chalk, toy trucks and balls. My daughter loves trucks so she picked a couple out and went around making car sounds and such. Some of the other little girls started making comments "she likes to play with cars" and trying to be rude. I said to them, you should be comfortable liking what you like not forcing yourself to like something because it's considered the right thing for your sex.
by Cat_PJune 1, 2010 at 7:06 AM
I used to tell people that labels like that were damaging and to please justr refer to my child as a child.....lol
I can appreciate your frustration for sure!
by IntrepidJune 10, 2010 at 10:34 AM
I'm right there with you! My son is very intelligent, thoughtful, respectful and sensitive. He loves all colors (even pink) and doesn't have much use for sports. Because of all this, he never fit in well with MOST other boys, and the teachers and aides at his former school all labeled him as "gay" because he wasn't "like the other boys". It infuriated me. I wouldn't care if my son grew up to be homosexual ... I'll love him no matter what... but I hate the fact that adults who were entrusted with his care slapped this label on him, made it sound as negative as possible, and broadcasted what they deemed a problem to my son's schoolmates and their parents. It created a terrible stigma for him and made it hard for him to fit in.
Too many people fixate on labels and ignore the true characters of the people they're labeling. And, in my experience, those labels are frequently grossly inaccurate. Why can't children just be permitted to be themselves?